In this blog we are concentrating on the installation of wood burning and multi fuel stoves, which has seen a massive increase in growth over the last few years and we can see no end to this growth in sight.
It has become a regular inquiry over the phone or via email from many of our first time customers who live inside the M25 corridor as to whether they can have a stove fitted or if the one which is in the house they have just purchased is ok to use. We always ask their location and then advise them as what type of stoves they can have fitted, ie DEFRA approved for smoke controlled areas and non DEFRA for those outside of smoke controlled areas. The clean air act, or CAA, which was brought in in 1956 following the Beaver report to help reduce harmful emissions from the use of domestic open fires and stoves in certain areas.
We at clivescottchimneysweeps.co.uk have been amazed at the number of stoves fitted, by so called registered professional companies, in smoke controlled areas which do not confirm to DEFRA regulations. We also come across many stoves, and open fire places, where the client has been advised that the chimney flue was safe to use in an unlined state without any checks being performed at all. In most cases the vast majority of the flues we have swept and tested have shown major defects showing that they are unfit for purpose and, more importantly, unsafe to use. This standard of practice, shown by some, we find totally unacceptable and to be honest utterly unbelievable, as without a Soundness / Pressure test how anyone can be totally certain of the integrity of a chimney flue is beyond us! Most of the properties we have visited to sweep the chimneys and carry out forms of testing which include pressure testing and CCTV inspections were built in the 1930’s or prior and most have been in the London borough, where let’s not forget that apart from old age causing problems to pargetting and brickwork there was also an awful lot of bombs dropped in the area during the ww11 conflict, which caused untold damage visual and not!
All stove manufactures test the stoves they make for output readings of kilowatts and also burn performance and always use either a flexible or twin wall flue system of 125mm, 150mm sizes or bigger. There are different grades of flexible liner which are specifically designed for the type of fuels you are thinking of using. Ask as many questions as you can. We feel part of all stove installation companies remit should be to explain all this to the customer and also explain the advantages and disadvantages of the lining of the chimney flue itself. Sadly in our experience many installation companies don’t and the customer, who has put their faith, safety and hard earned cash, in the hands of these companies only find out about any issues when the chimney sweep goes in to perform a sweep and comes across the problems concerning safety and bad workmanship.
We are very fortunate at clivescottchimneysweeps as we have built up a very good working relationship with a company called Woodburning Solutions, one of East Anglia’s and the South East’s leading stove supply and installation companies, who we are very happy to work alongside and highly recommend to all of our customers. Their workmanship and customer service is, in our opinion, second to none and we have recommended them to hundreds of our own customers and have had 100% feedback from all.
Whilst we can only give comment on our own areas of business, if you are reading this and live in another part of the country our advice is, do your research very carefully with regards to the company you choose to install your stove and remember that if someone does not give you the advice we have mentioned above and comes in at a very cheap price be cautious. There is an old saying out there and that is: If you think it’s expensive to employ a professional wait until you employ an amateur.
Poor Working Example.
First impressions would suggest that this stove installation looks inconspicuous and correctly installed. It had all the relevant HETAS certification and was fitted by one of their approved and registered installation companies.
But as you can see in the second picture, upon looking up to inspect the closure plate, it has not been installed correctly at all. The stove pipe which runs from the collar at the stove top and up through the metal closure plate is all that should be seen but in this instance the ill fitting plate had just been pushed up and stuffed with fibreglass and the MA adaptor and stainless steel liner is completely exposed. This, apart from being a very bad installation, is extremely dangerous. Any breakdown in the stainless steel liner itself would send dangerous Carbon Monoxide Fumes and smoke into the property causing serious health issues to the homeowners as there is no means for the smoke and gases to vent past the pot hanging cowl fixed to the chimney pot above.
Good luck with whomever you instruct to install your new stove and we hope it all goes well for you and you enjoy many warm winters sitting in front of it.
From all of us at the team at clivescottchimneysweeps, be warm and be safe…..